Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lisa Jackson Decides To Step Down at EPA



"I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: “There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.” As the President said earlier this year when he addressed EPA’s employees, “You help make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are safe. You help protect the environment not just for our children but their children. And you keep us moving toward energy independence…We have made historic progress on all these fronts.” So, I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference."
EPA Milestones: 2009-2012
Since January 2009, EPA has taken a number of steps to ensure Americans’ health and environment are protected from the harmful effects of pollution in our air, land and water; and has put in place historic standards that will save tens of thousands of lives, prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma and heart attacks, and avert thousands of emergency room and hospital visits. With each action, EPA has engaged in a deliberative and extensive process, reviewing public comments and engaging all stakeholders to ensure that the standards are sensible, effective and scientifically and legally sound. Significant accomplishments during her term include: 

Improving Air Quality

Finalizing Clean Air Standards for Industrial Boilers, Incinerators and Cement Kilns

In December 2012, EPA finalized changes in Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators, providing important public health protections.  While providing flexibility to industry for implementation, the standards will avoid up to 8,100 premature deaths, prevent 5,100 heart attacks and avert 52,00 asthma attacks per year in 2015.

Setting New Health-Based Standard for Fine Particle Pollution

In December 2012, EPA established the annual health standard for fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, at 12 micrograms per cubic meter.  Fine particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and has been linked to a wide range of health effects, including premature deaths, heart attacks and strokes as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children.

Establishing First-Ever Standards on Mercury and Air Toxics from Power Plants

In December 2011, EPA finalized the first national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. These new standards will avert up to 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks every year.

Finalizing A Rule Helping States Reduce Air Pollution and Attain Clean Air Standards

In June 2011, EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which protects the health of millions of Americans by reducing power plant emissions that cross state lines and contribute to ozone and fine particle pollution in other states. The rule will help to prevent 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits, 1.8 million lost work days or school absences, and 400,000 aggravated asthma attacks. A federal court struck down this rule, but that decision is under appeal.

Setting the Nation’s First SO2 Limits in Forty Years

Under Administrator Jackson, EPA strengthened the National Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide to better protect people’s health, especially those with asthma, children and the elderly. EPA estimates that meeting the new SO2 standard will prevent 2,300 to 5,900 premature deaths associated with exposure to fine particle pollution and 54,000 asthma attacks a year.

Setting Historic Fuel Economy Standards

American families will save over $1.7 trillion at the pump -- nearly $8,000 per vehicle, as a result of the Obama Administration's historic fuel efficiency standards and first ever greenhouse gas standards for cars and light trucks through model year 2025. The Administration’s actions will protect our environment  while reducing America’s dependence on oil by an estimated 12 billion barrels, and, by 2025, reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day – enough to offset almost a quarter of the current level of our foreign oil imports. In addition, the Administration set the first ever fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for trucks and busses, which will save American businesses approximately $50 billion in fuel costs.
Completing the Historic Greenhouse Gas Endangerment Finding

On December 7, 2009, the Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act that established that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) — in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations and that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare. These long-overdue findings cemented 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution.

Protecting America’s Waters

Restoring America’s Waterbodies

EPA is working to restore and revitalize America’s waterbodies across the nation, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Everglades, the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson served as chair of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce, which released its final strategy for long term restoration for the Gulf Coast in late 2011. The Chesapeake Bay, as the largest bay in the U.S. and third largest in the world, is assessed as a $1 trillion resource. At the end of 2010, EPA received plans from states in the Chesapeake Bay region to meet the pollution diet goals the agency outlined as necessary for the protection of the Bay. Additionally, the Great Lakes provide some 30 million Americans with drinking water and underpin a multi-billion dollar economy. President Obama has proposed significant funding as part of his Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.

Releasing a National Clean Water Strategy

In April 2011, the Obama Administration released a national clean water framework and reaffirmed its commitment to the health of our nation’s waters. The administration’s framework outlines a series of actions underway and planned across federal agencies to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, and that support farming, recreation, tourism and economic growth.

Urban Waters Federal Partnership

In June 2011, EPA announced a new federal partnership that aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect Americans’ health by revitalizing urban waterways in under-served communities across the country.

Strengthening Chemical Safety

Protecting Families from Lead, Mercury and PCBs

EPA took a number of steps to protect the public from harmful chemicals like lead, mercury and PCBs.  

Lead: Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes.  In 2010 and 2011, EPA implemented and broadened its rule that requires the use of lead-safe work practice standards by the renovation, repair, and painting industries.    

Mercury: EPA has finalized rules to phase out or ban the use of mercury in a range of measuring devices (thermometers, barometers, etc.) and other products.  Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages.  

PCBs: EPA is also working to determine whether approved uses of PCBs should be limited or banned.  PCBs are man-made chemicals that were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial products until they were banned in 1979 and can cause damage to people's immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system in addition to other health effects.

Taking Long-Overdue Action on Ten Chemicals Found in Everyday Products

EPA set into motion a series of action plans which lay out concrete steps EPA intends to take to address the risks associated with chemicals commonly used in this country. So far, EPA has prepared action plans on ten chemicals:  phthalates; Bisphenol A (BPA); long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs); penta, octa, and decabromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs); short-chain chlorinated paraffins; benzidine dyes; hexabromocyclododecane; and nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates TDI and MDI. These chemicals are commonly used in everyday products that people can be regularly exposed to and have been linked to or known to cause a range of health effects from reproductive and developmental problems to cancer. 

Expanding Chemicals Testing for Endocrine Disruption

EPA has identified a list of over 100 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system.  Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction.  Testing is underway on a subset of these chemicals and additional tests will be ordered in the future. 

Removing Confidentiality Claims for More than 150 Chemicals
In order to ensure the public has as much information as possible about the health and the environmental impacts of chemicals; EPA has made public the identities of more than 590 chemicals associated with health and safety studies that had been claimed confidential by industry.  EPA continues to expand the information available to the public on chemicals. 

Cleaning Up Our Communities

Revitalizing Contaminated Sites

EPA has continued work to redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and help create jobs through EPA’s brownfields program. In 2011, EPA’s brownfields program leveraged 6,447 jobs and $2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds. EPA under President Obama has also invested $1 million evaluating the feasibility of developing renewable energy production on Superfund, brownfields, and former landfill or mining sites.

Expanding the Conversation on the Environment and Working for Environmental Justice

Ensuring Environmental Justice for Americans

Plan EJ 2014, released on September, 14, 2011, is EPA’s roadmap for considering how pollution may isproportionately impact communities, particularly low-income, minority and tribal communities. By considering environmental justice in agency rulemaking, permitting, enforcement, and community-based actions, EPA is working to protect the health of every American.

Expanding Outreach to New Groups

EPA has continued to amplify new voices in the environmental conversation, including faith-based groups, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Girl Scouts, the Green Sports Alliance, the Moms Clean Air Task Force, Moms Rising, and Mocha Moms, tribal colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities.

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